SG President Youssef Kalad issued this statement in an email to InsideSG:
“It’s always been the position of SG to wait before making a judgment on the issue of having a trauma center on the South Side, especially given the deep complexity and strong emotions associated with the subject from both sides. When we were conversing with activist groups and the Medical Center on the possibility of holding the forum, we approached the issue with that level of sensitivity and respect and found that both sides did the same. The aim of the forum is simple: to engage in an important conversation that should bridge gaps in knowledge, form new community bonds, and spur practical solutions moving forward.”
Asked to clarify what SG is “wait[ing]” for, Kalad said, “we’d much rather listen to both sides of the argument and give them an equal platform for discussion and deliberation before making a judgment. We also recognize that the issue of a trauma center on the South Side is deeply complex and to oversimplify the problem or possible solutions would be disrespectful and foolish.”
Kalad is candid to point out that issues that elicit emotions as intense as this one put SG leaders in a difficult position; some argue that SG should play a mediating role in regard to sensitive issues, facilitating and encouraging negotiations between opposing parties (such as by hosting open forums), while others pressure SG to take firm positions and use its (limited) clout with the administration to advance those positions.
Do you think the SG slate should take a position on the trauma center issue? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
(The forum will be held on Thursday, November 10 at 5:30pm in Kent 107 and will feature representatives from the medical center, community activist group Fearless Leading by the Youth, and student group Students for Health Equity, according to its Facebook event.)